Toxic wholesomeness. A straight oxymoron that describes the end result of every relationship that is based on complete co-dependency. A contradictory statement which summarizes just how crooked the path of a person whose fulfilment and company lies fully in the hands of another can be. There is nothing wrong with being reliant on somebody or other people, as long as it lasts for a season. However, more often than not, vast amounts of us find it a lot easier to attach ourselves for what we would like to be a permanent timeline. And, in the process of building such a co-dependent interaction with others, we are taught the opposite of assertiveness, of self-awareness; ignorant of the fact that being decisive should be a personal choice. Such traits of an independent person are, in a literal sense, nowhere to be found when over-reliance is the norm.
Do you know who you are? Let that sink in for a second. What exactly is your identity? How does it differentiate you from the rest of the world? Doug Cooper, the American author of the debut novel, ‘Outside In’, once said: Identity cannot be found or fabricated but emerges from within when one has the courage to let go. The key words there are “let go”. Let go of other people and of that attached nature you have so readily succumbed to. It is, however, inevitably a lot easier to do the exact opposite; to stay glued and affiliated. Notwithstanding, you can’t learn to live independently if you don’t know who you are, and to start that journey on the road to ‘self-discovery’, alone time must be sought.
It is when one is left alone that personal reflection can occur. This time is more important than we realize. Meditation is next to understanding; understanding what exactly our purpose is and why we do every single thing it is that we do. Identity. The major issue we face here – trying to grab a hold of independence and private contentment – is loneliness. It is so effortless to be overcome by the void we may feel when companionless. It is in fact normal. We have all had or consistently have similar emotions.
Sitting alone in the cafeteria at lunch time, eating and watching others in their cliques; laughing, talking, seeming happy with their company. You glance over and feel empty, nullified, deserted; an isolation of sorts. However, the glaring truth is that an individual is never really alone because that person has himself. That person has herself. Taking personal time out, unaccompanied, is a great way to discover and love yourself. This love permeates not because of external words that people throw your way, but because familiarity with yourself breeds comfort and that comfort breeds love. Self-love.
What’s more is that change is a constant; life’s constant. Things will only remain invariable for a certain amount of time. That grocery store you always go to may eventually be shut down. That teacher or lecturer you trust the most will not be at your institution until the end of time. Those friends you felt would always have your back and that you are inseparable from, might just relocate to a country a thousand miles away. Your current status will change. Your connections will be altered. Even our families will come and go.
And when outgrowth and progression in the lives of the others that surround you begins, and they start to drift away, you just cannot let yourself remain stagnant at the same point at which they left you. You should have seen it coming; anticipated that for a period, you might be alone. For a period, you might be thoroughly individualistic. It is at this season that you can and must come out stronger than ever. If other people not being around is a source of depression for a dispirited or lonely person, it is the best time to start adapting to going solo.
The certainty in such a situation is that the individual in question is in bad company. The high probability shifts towards the feasible legitimacy of the fact that this person is unable to think autonomously. Extreme co-dependency becomes such a norm that beliefs, decisions, opinions and the like are no longer intimate for a person but are thoroughly based on what the next person says in concurrence or dissent. The man or woman in the mirror is no longer enough to prove just how beautiful you are, but your boyfriend’s words are. Your mother’s words are.
This sort of psychological reliance can get unhealthy. It can get toxic. Often, our opinions are so chronic that we don’t even stop to see if they echo our true perceptions, if we even know what those perceptions are. Time after time, these viewpoints are yet again drawn to conclusions based on clichés and the people around us. Simply because we don’t spend quality time with ourselves to contemplate, but rather let that thinking be done for us by others. You are the one who decides your role in life and your identity. Don’t let society do that for you.
Initiate a newly found person who is self-content. Accept the world. Be your own motivator. Be assertive. Make your own decisions. Keep a journal if you please. Think independently and freely, but don’t overthink. Know yourself first and foremost. Be the leader of your own path and not a follower of others. Admire the person you are becoming. Bask in your uniqueness and individuality. Start-up on a road of self-rule until social interactions become less of a need and more of an option.
Nonetheless, do not mistake all I have said to mean that you should remain friendless. By all means, do not. A good friend is like a four-leaf clover; hard to find and lucky to have. They are truly priceless. Above even friends, your family is life’s greatest blessing. You don’t choose them. They are God’s gift to you as you are to them. They are love. They will be there. All the same, it is so important that you know that during tougher times, you may have to stand alone and that you will have to stand strong. Don’t feel lonely but enjoy that time you have to meditate, because it is beyond valuable. Just like your friends and family, you are beyond valuable.
Your identity should be so secure that when someone walks away from you, they don’t take you with them. Don’t feel lonely. Grow and be your main companion. Be independent. It’s a personal thing.